St. Patrick's Day wouldn't be the same for many of the folks who celebrate it without a pint of beer.
Although it may be tempting to simply drop green food dye into a domestic brand in the spirit of the day, consider first the wide range of authentic Irish brews.
Without diving too deep into many varieties of lagers, ales and stouts, here's a guide to Irish-style brews likely to be on tap at the local pub this weekend.
Harp Lager: This pale Irish lager, first brewed in 1960 by Guinness Brewing, features a slightly more bitter taste than American-style lagers. The light malt flavor, thin body, high carbonation and low intensity make it a good choice for domestic beer drinkers venturing for something new, but familiar.
Flying Dog Lucky S.O.B.: Billed as a beer "poised to bring the luck of the Irish to those who drink it," this Irish red ale's recipe includes real four leaf clovers in the mix. The Lucky S.O.B.'s body features a rich amber color, thin head and light fizzle, while the toasted malts, honey and minimal hops create a more crisp and mildly bitter taste than typical Irish reds.
Great Lakes Conway's Irish Ale: This Cleveland-brewed beer's flavor boasts sweet, roasted malts and hints of caramel and orange up front, while hop flavor is minimal. Its golden amber body is flat and smooth, and its finish is incredibly clean.
Smithwick's: Smithwick's Irish ale (pronounced Smith-icks) is the staple Irish red ale, with roots dating back 300 years. The beer's head is big and puffy, its aroma bears the scent of hops, malts and dark fruits and its flavor holds balance of malty sweetness with hop bitterness. Smithwick's finish is barely bitter, clean and very smooth.
Guinness Draught: This smooth, dark and creamy Irish stout may not be the best, but it's definitely the most popular. Though it nears opaque black in color, red hues creep through when held to light. It smells like sweet malts and roasted coffee, and its taste includes hints of chocolate and smoky flavors.
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